It’s the most wonderful time of the year and it’s so wonderful, we celebrated it twice, two months earlier than most people start thinking about it.
And if you aren’t prepared for the holiday season, Black Friday, and beyond, you could lose out on doubling your revenue if you’re a publisher or tripling it if you’re a merchant.
So we put together two events, in London and New York, to showcase our holiday insights report, hear from industry experts and enjoy a drink (or two!). The London event took place on September 5th and our New York event took place on Tuesday.
Our CEO Alicia Navarro chaired a three person panel including Jessica Spira from Wirecutter, Katelyn Mullen from Huffington Post and Anchit Dhawan from Spring. Together they talked through the holiday season, how they see it and how they’re looking to win on Black Friday and beyond in 2017.
Here’s some of their key takeaways:
The early bird catches the worm
Jessica and Katelyn agreed that as soon as publishers are past Prime Day in summer, they and their teams start thinking about the holiday season.
They also agreed that it’s all the more important because competition has become more intense, particularly for publishers that depend upon search referrals for traffic.
Jessica’s key was organisational processes. Putting those together ahead of time, to a dedicated plan, so people can seize them and take advantage.
Forget Cyber Monday, think Cyber Week
All of the panellists agreed that the focus of the holiday season has broadened out beyond just Cyber Monday and Black Friday.
Anchit said that as a merchant, Spring see massive uplifts, particularly when content is driving sales towards them and are now looking at Thanksgiving as the “Cyber 5”, with each day between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday treated as an equally important revenue opportunity. As a merchant with a large following in Asia, Anchit also noted the fact sees big uplifts on Singles Day
Katelyn’s take was that the Huffington Post’s largely millenial audience are willing to wait longer before purchasing because they’ve become trained to expect instant gratification. That means many are shopping right up until last shipping day, around December 15th, rather than spending solely on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. She also suggested often people aren’t gifting, but are shopping for themselves.
Merchants may also have a role to play in training this behavior of waiting for the best deal. Jessica noted that a lot of the top deals from technology and electronics merchants won’t go live until later, which is why the team take extra precautions to ensure if they’re endorsing a product or deal it is genuine.
Flexibility is key
Spring strategizes around the brands it works with. They tell Spring what they’re planning and that helps them prepare for the season. Anchit also revealed that the tech team scale over the holiday season and add temporary workers to the customer service team to cope with demand.
The Wirecutter also turns to contract workers and freelancers in the holidays to power up volume. It helps the deals team surface more deals for the site and ensures they have the capability to capitalize on all that the season has to offer.
Part of being flexible and reactive means being data-driven. Part of Katelyn’s role is bringing together insights into what people are interested in and marrying that to products that she and her team believe in. They also balance content for the communities they’ve created and nurtured, and creating content with broader appeal through the summer, which will ride the wave of wider holiday traffic through the season.
If you want more holiday insights please download our new holiday report here!